A St. Clair County man and his wife allege medical malpractice against a doctor at Belleville Family Medical Associates who they say forced the man to undergo open heart surgery to replace a heart valve.

Eugene and Joan Kufskie filed a lawsuit Oct. 22 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Belleville Family Medical Associates and Dr. Douglas Despain.

The Kufskies allege Despain began caring for Eugene Kufskie on Jan. 21, 2008, and continued his care until April 23, 2008.

However, while Eugene Kufskie was under Despain's care, Despain failed to take an adequate history, failed to perform a review of systems, failed to perform a complete physical examination, failed to order appropriate lab work, failed to perform neurological testing, failed to order a neurological consultation, failed to order an infectious disease consultation, failed to provide a definitive work-up, failed to admit Eugene Kufskie to the hospital for a work-up in a timely manner and failed to make a definitive diagnosis of infective endocarditis, according to the complaint.

Because of Despain's alleged negligence, Eugene Kufskie was forced to undergo a heart valve replacement through open heart surgery and experienced pain, suffering and disability, the suit states. In addition, Eugene Kufskie incurred medical costs, lost his enjoyment of life and was disabled from his normal activities, the complaint says.

Joan Kufskie says she has suffered a loss of consortium with her husband and a loss of services.

In the two-count suit, the Kufskies are seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs.

Rex Carr of The Rex Carr Law Firm in East St. Louis will be representing them.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-568.

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